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Full text of "Speech of Hon. Chas. M. Cooke, delivered in the Dr. Grissom trial for the defence, Thursday, July 18, 1889"

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Deli\fered in the Dr. Grissom Trial, Thursday, July 18, 1889. 

Mr. President o/nd Gentlemen of the Board: When it was 
rumored some weeks ago that this Board had been called 
together in extra session, for the purpose of hearing charges 
which were to be preferred against some officer of the North 
Carolina Insane Asylum, it produced anxiety in the public 
mind. There was no certainty as to the officer, nor was there 
any specification as to the charges ; and when, a few days after- 
ward, it was published that the charges were to be preferred 
against the Superintendent of the Institution, it filled the 
people of the State with a sad surprise. 

There was still uncertainty as to the character of the 
charges; and when, at the commencement of this trial, the 
charges were preferred, alleging that the Superintendent of 
this Institution had been guilty — first, of gross immorality 
in connection with certain female attendants and others of 
this Institution; and, secondly, with mismanagement of, and 
cruelty to, the patients under his charge; and, thirdly, that 
he had been guilty of misappropriating the property of the 
Institution, they were of so serious a nature that the people 
of North Carolina, notwithstanding their previous notice, 
were not prepared for them. They cried out, "Is it possible 
that this man, to whom we have for so many years given our 
confidence, has been guilty of these things? Has this man, 
who is the husband of a good and virtuous wife, stooped to 
attempt to defile another man's bed? Has this father of 
daughters debauched the widow's daughter? and for the 
gratification of his own wicked lusts has he been at the vile 
work of attempting to compass the ruin of young girls who 
were attendants in this Institution ? and all this under the 
same roof that covers his own wife and daughters? Is it 

possible that this man, who has always been brave, when he 
was facing men, who has been courageous in every conflict, 
who wears upon his body the fearful scars of an honorable 
war, has been so cowardly as to cruelly mistreat those who, 
by reason of their weakness, are under his charge? Is it 
possible that he who has had fame on account of his gen- 
erosity, who has been almost prodigal in his personal lib- 
erality, who has ever been quick to respond to the call of 
charity, has laid his hand upon the property of this Institu- 
tion to appropriate it to his own use? Can it be that he is a 
libertine? Can it be that he is a cruel tyrant? Can it be 
that he, with his great intellect and his proud record, has 
passed under the control and influence of the demon of 

But these charges have been preferred, and for three weeks 
you have been engaged in trying the question as to whether 
or not this man, who has for nearly a quarter of a century 
occupied such a high and honorable position in the history 
of North Carolina, be guilty thereof. You have heard the 
evidence, and the counsel are now engaged in discussing 
the same, before you shall come to your final determination^ 

Before I proceed further, it gives me pleasure to commend, 
in the highest terms, the ability, the fairness, the impartiality, 
which have characterized your deliberations; and for myself 
and my associates, I tender you our grateful appreciation of 
the kindness and courtesy you have shown to us. Whatever 
may be the result of this trial, your patience and your gen- 
erous consideration towards all the parties engaged herein 
will be gratefully remembered and cherished. 

This case, like cases in the courts of law, is to be tried 
upon evidence. This is settled by the language of the stat- 
ute which endows you with the power of this trial, for it 
makes your conduct to depend upon proof. 

It would be well if we could settle now the question of the 
sufficiency of proof that should be required for a conviction 
in this trial. There are three rules which apply in courts of 

law, depending for their difference upon the nature of the 
action tried. First, in all criminal actions the rule of suffi- 
ciency of proof is, that the jury must be satisfied, beyond a 
reasonable doubt, to justify a conviction ; second, in civil 
cases, generally, the rule is, that he who holds the affirma- 
tive of an issue must maintain it by a preponderance of 
evidence, or else he is not entitled to recover ; and, thirdly, 
there is another rule which applies in cases where the bona 
fides of a transaction are sought to be impeached, as where 
there is an issue of fraud, or where public officers are clothed 
with the exercise of their public duties, and the issue is as to 
whether or not the}^ have used more power upon the sub- 
jects of their jurisdiction than was legally allowed, and that 
rule is, that the issue shall not be found in the affirmative 
except upon clear proof; that is, unless the triers are satisfied. 

I shall not insist upon the application of the first-named 
rule to this case — that is, that you should be satisfied beyond 
a reasonable doubt before you find the respondent guilty 
upon these charges ; but I do insist that the last-named rule 
should govern in this case, and that you should not find the 
respondent guilty upon any one of these charges, except 
•upon full proof, which is the language of the statute author- 
izing this trial, and I now ask the counsel upon the other side 
if they will not agree with me that it is the proper rule for 
this? The counsel say that they do. So, we will consider 
that as settled. 

The prosecution has introduced its evidence upon these 
charges, and the respondent has introduced his evidence in 
reply thereto, but the counsel for the prosecution, who ad- 
dressed you on 3^esterday, made no allusion whatever, in 
his long and able speech, to the first and third charges, but 
confined himself entirely to the discussion of the evidence 
upon the second charge — that is, the one of cruel treatment 
of the patients. He has tendered us battle upon that issue 
alone. Am I to understand that, upon their consciences, 
after all the evidence is in, they have come to the conclu- 


sion that they would not be justified in pressing this Board 
for a conviction upon the first and third charges? And 
before proceeding further, I would be glad to be advised by 
the gentlemen who represent the prosecution, if it is their 
purpose to abandon the first and third charges. 

They- reply that they do not abandon the first charge'; 
that they shall insist that the respondent is guilty thereof. 
And in relation to the third charge, that while they think 
the evidence has been sufiicient to show that there has been 
a misappropriation of the property of the Institution by the 
respondent, still, on account of the insignificant value thereof, 
they do not attach much importance to it. I have great 
respect for the gentleman (Col. Waddell) who, speaking for 
the prosecution, has made this, which he calls frank, con- 
fession in respect to the third charge, and no man in North 
Carolina would appreciate more than I would an honorable, 
frank concession from him ; but when he proposes a conces- 
sion which would only aff'ect the extent of the property 
taken, and in no way decrease the moral turpitude of my 
client, then I spurn the concession. 

I must decline, just now, the tender of battle made by the 
gentleman yesterday. Later on, in my remarks, I shall 
attempt to reply to his speech. 

I shall begin the discussion with the evidence upon the 
first charge, for the reason, first, that it is orderly to do so ; 
and secondly, for that it is the most important one, and of 
greater concern to the respondent, in that it most seriously 
affects his character and happiness. Under this charge 
there are five specifications, and we shall consider them in 
the order in which they are written. 

The first is, that the respondent has been guilty of illicit 
intercourse with Miss Nora Burch. We will now consider 
the evidence upon this specification : 

Plummer King, for the prosecution, testifies that in July 
or August of last year, standing on the corner of the stage 
at the further end of this hall, he saw Miss Nora Burch 

come up the southern steps, go along this hall and go into 
the matron's sitting-room, which is at the extreme end of 
this hall from the stage ; that when she went into the room, 
she left the door ajar to the extent of some two or three 
inches, and that some three minutes thereafter. Dr. Grissom 
came up the northern steps, and went into the same room 
and closed the door, and not long thereafter he (King) came 
down the stage steps, went along the hall to the door of the 
matron's bed-room, opening into the hall, and peeped through 
the key-hole, and saw Dr. Grissom and Miss Burch on a 
single-bed in that room, with their feet towards the door, in 
sexual intercourse. He further stated, that this was on Sat- 
urday afternoon, and that he was on the stage at that time in 
compliance with the directions of Mrs. Lawrence, the matron, 
for the purpose of ascertaining what repairs w^ere needed to 
the stage scenery thereon ; that he found that one of the 
screens had fallen down, and that it would be necessary to 
fasten it by cleats to the wall ; that he did not do the work 
on Saturday afternoon, but returned on Monday and did the 
work. He said there was no one else on the stage but him- 
self. He did not, on his first examination, either on direct 
or cross-examination, say that he saw Emanuel Jones, or 
any one else, in the hall or on the floor while Dr. Grissom 
and Miss Burch were in that room. 

Jones, the next witness, testified that, on the same day, he 
came up the steps to the floor on which is the matron's room, 
and, standing at the head of the steps, he saw Miss Burch go 
across the passage and enter the sitting-room door. He says 
he then turned to the right and went into the chapel by the 
end door, and went across the chapel and took a position by 
the side- door which opens into the hail opposite the mat- 
ron's sitting-room, and from that position he saw Dr. Gris- 
som come up the steps into the hall and go into the mat- 
ron's sitting-room, and not long thereafter he, the witness, 
moved across the hall, looked through the key-hole into the 
matron's bed-room, and saw the act of sexual intercours 

between Dr. Grissom and Miss Burch. He further testified, 
that he didn't tell of this in some time afterwards, and that 
the first one he told it to was the witness King, and that 
he afterwards told it to one of the prosecutors. He said 
he did not see Mr. King on the stage or on the floor or 
peeping through the key-hole. He says that some time ago 
lie was walking on the street in the city of Raleigh, after 
dark, and some young white man whom he did not know 
called to him and told him that he was wanted up in Mr 
Whitaker's office; said he did not know Mr. Whitaker, and 
did not know what he wanted with him, but that he went 
up into Mr. Whitaker's office and there made to Mr. Whit- 
aker, who took it down in writing, the same statement, in 
substance, as his testimony in this trial. 

After this. King was recalled by the prosecution, and tes- 
tified that while he was standing on the corner of the stage, 
and before he peeped through the key-hole, he saw Eman- 
uel Jones come out of the chapel, go across the hall and 
peep through the key-hole into the matron's bed-room, and 
that as soon as Jones had recrossed the hall and gone back 
into the chapel, he, the witness, came down the steps of the 
stage and went directly to the key-hole and discovered this 
intercourse between Dr. Grissom and Miss Burch. He said 
he looked for at least a half minute, and that the intercourse 
continued until he left. King also testified that he some- 
time ago informed the prosecutors of what he had seen. 

This is all the evidence the prosecution off'ered upon this 
specification, except the testimony of Capt. West, who said 
that some time last fall or winter, he saw Dr. Grissom and 
Miss Burch go into the matron's sitting-room, and that fact 
could hardly be relied upon as any evidence of their guilty 
connection in the July or August preceding, nor any evi- 
dence of their guilty connection on the day testified to, since 
they went into the sitting-room which was at all times open 
to the inmates of the Institution. 

Now let us consider the testimony of the defence on this 
specification : 

Dr. Grissom testified that he never had anj^ improper 
relations with Miss Nora Burch, and that he never made any 
improper advances to her, and he denied specifically the 
fact of intercourse as testified to by King and Jones. He 
further testified, that Miss Nora Burch was for several years 
an attendant at this Institution, and that she sufl'ered with a 
disease peculiar to her sex, and that sometimes required 
local examination and treatment ; that these examinations 
were made in the matron's bed-room. That Miss Burch, to 
relieve the pain resulting from this trouble, became addicted 
to the use of morphine, and that this habit produced mental 
derangement or mania, which first discovered itself in Feb- 
ruary of this year. That Miss Burch was then moved into 
the matron's room, where she could be under the personal 
supervision of Mrs. Lawrence, the matron. That Dr. E. 
Burke Haywood was called in to see her and made her 
several visits. Dr. Fuller, first assistant physician of the 
Institution, also visited her. The mother of Miss Burch was 
notified of her condition by the witness, and came dowm and 
attended her for a good part of her sickness. Her condition 
did not improve, and she was sent to the Insane Asylum at 
Morganton, her home in Guilford County being within the 
prescribed limits of territory from which patients are to be 
sent to that asylum. 

Mrs. Lawrence testified that she remembers well the occa- 
sion when King repaired the stage scenery at her request, 
and she said that the following are the circumstances : That 
King, who was the carpenter of the Institution, was doing 
some work in a room in one of the wards on the same floor 
with the hall, and that she went to him and informed him 
that one of the screens on the stage had fallen, and that she 
desired him to place it back ; that he went at once to the 
hall, she accompanying him; that he, without leaving the 
room and without leaving the stage, completed the work that 


she requested him to do, and then came off the stage and 
went down the stairs, off the floor. She said that she was 
present with him during the whole time that he was on the 
stage or in the hall, and that she directed him in the mak- 
ing of the repairs, and that the work was accomplished 
within a half hour. She further testified, that during the 
summer of last year, the iron bedstead in her room did not 
sit in such a position that the foot thereof could be seen by 
a person looking through the key-hole. She further testi- 
fied, that she never left the Institution on Saturday, for that 
on that day of the week she was engaged in inspecting and 
repairing the clothing of the patients. She said that Miss 
Nora Burch, who was, at the time of the alleged intercourse, 
the chief attendant in this Institution, was, in her bearing 
and conduct, a lady, and that she never saw any improper 
conduct on Dr. Grissom's part towards her. 

Miss McKoy, who is now and has been for some time an 
attendant here, testified that on the occasion last summer 
when King made the repairs to the scenery on the theatri- 
cal stage, she was in the sewing-room, which adjoins the 
stage, the door of the room next to the stage was open, and 
that she knows, from her own personal observation, that 
Mrs. Lawrence came upon the stage with King, and remained 
with him during the time he was making the repairs, and 
until he left the floor and went down the steps; that her 
business in the Institution requires her to spend much of 
her time in that sewing-room, and that she, neither before 
nor after that time, saw King upon that stage. 

I have stated substantially, and I trust fairly, the evi- 
dence on each side in respect to this specification. Now let 
us consider the value of this testimon3^ Let it be remem- 
bered that witnesses have testified to the good character of 
W. P. King ; that many witnesses have come down from 
High Point, the home of Miss Nora Burch, and testified to 
her high character, and witnesses, coming from different 
sections of the State, and occupying high positions with 


respect to public confidence, and several of them ministers 
of God's gospel of truth and justice, have testified to the 
high character of Dr. Eugene Grissom, and among these 
latter have been those who have been inmates of this Insti- 
tution, and who have experienced his kindness and the ben- 
efits of his treatment during the hours of their darkness 
and suffering. It can hardly be necessary for me to call the 
attention of the members of this Board, as evidence to the 
high character of Dr. Grissom, that for twent3''-one years he 
has held this high position, from which you are now asked 
to depose him, and that he has filled it with great accepta- 
bility to the people of the State. 

The witness King is discredited by the fact that the 
examination and investigation by Mr. Ashley discovered 
that it was physically impossible for a person occupying any 
position on that stage to have seen the door entering from 
the hall into the matron's sitting-room, and this view mem- 
bers of this Board are able to confirm by personal inspec- 
tion, which they have made. He is further discredited bj 
the fact that, when first examined as a witness, he failed to 
state that he saw Emanuel Jones when he peeped through 
that key-hole, when the importance of corroborating him- 
self must have been apparent to him at that time. Again, 
I submit that it is improbable that Emanuel Jones should 
have come up the steps upon the floor, and walked into the 
chapel, passing within a few feet of where King alleges he 
was standing upon the stage, without seeing the witness 
King, and without the latter seeing him. 

And even if this were so, is it not certain that if Emanuel 
Jones came out of that chapel and went across the hall and 
peeped into that key-hole, as both King and himself testi- 
fied that he did, and then recrossed the hall back to the 
chapel, that he would have seen King, if he had been stand- 
ing in that position? for it is true that persons who are 
going to peep through key-holes, conscious that it is discred- 
itable and dishonorable, would be watchful to see if thej 


were observed. And if King had occupied the position at 
that time that he said he occupied, then Jones had need 
only to turn his e3^e to the left in going, or to the right in 
returning, and he would have discovered King. 

Another thing which is unexplained, by King, and which 
goes to his discredit, is that he says that he remained upon 
the stage after he had satisfied himself by personal inspection 
of the repairs that were needed. Why did he not go then? 
What kept him there? The suggestion that his attention 
was attracted and his suspicion aroused by seeing Miss 
Burch go across the hall into the matron's sitting-room can- 
not avail, for the matron's sitting-room was not a private 
room, but was open to all the attendants and the convales- 
cent patients, and it was the duty of Miss Nora Burch, as 
chief attendant, to go there; and, according to the testimony 
of witness himself, at least three minutes elapsed after Miss 
Burch went into that room before Dr. Grissom came up the 
steps; and that the witness remained in that position on the 
stage with nothing to do and no purpose, is improbable and 

He admitted in his testimony that by an order of this 
Institution neither he nor any of the other outside attend- 
ants were allowed upon this floor except upon orders for 
business, and as soon as the business was transacted to retire 
from this floor. 

Then, is it not true, generally, that a man who admits 
that he derived his information by peeping through a key- 
hole, impeaches himself? His consciousness of this led him 
in the attempt to justify his conduct to give a reason which 
was absurd and disingenious ; for he says he peeped 
through the key-hole to see what Dr. Grissom and Miss Burch 
were doing, because Dr. Grissom directed him to keep a look- 
out for any improper conduct between the male and female 
attendants of the Institution, and if he made any such dis- 
coveries to report to him. He is further impeached by his 


written statement, signed and given to Dr. Grissom, that he 
had never heard of any immoral conduct on the part of Dr, 

Why, if this man were truthful and brave, as is claimed 
for him by the prosecution, did he not, when interrogated by 
Dr. Grissom, in relation to what he had seen or heard of any 
immoral or improper conduct on his part towards any of the 
attendants or patients of this Institution, state to him frankly 
that he had witnessed the sinful intercourse between him 
and Miss Burch, which he has testified to on this stand? 

He is impeached by the fact that he did not give informa- 
tion to Dr. Fuller, who was second in command of this 
Institution, or to any one else, until a short while ago, when 
he stated it to the prosecutors in this case. 

Was this fact, of which he had knowledge, by personal 
observation, and which he knew proved the unfitness of the 
Superintendent of this Institution for this high position, so 
unimportant and so insignificant? or, was there no person 
of his acquaintance to whom, either from a sense of duty, 
or from a desire, common to human nature, to discover at 
least to somebody a piece of startling information, that he 
could unbosom himself? and must he, and did he, carry that 
secret in his own breast for months? That is improbable. 
Or if there were reasons that he should keep this secret for 
months, what reason is suggested for his telling it to the 
prosecutors afterwards ? 

Let us next consider what reliance is to be placed upon 
the testimony of Emanuel Jones, the colored servant. Do 
you believe him when he sa3^s that he came up those steps, 
and, standing at the head of the stair-way, saw Miss Nora 
Burch enter the matron's sitting-room? Gentlemen of the 
Board, you are sitting within a few feet of the position which 
the witness said he occupied, at the head of that stair-way, 
and you can see now, if it had not been proven to youi 
before, that no range of vision of a person occupying that 
position could strike within twenty feet of that door. Irt 


order for Jones to have seen that door, it would have been 
necessary for him to have come to a position in this hall in 
front of the stage, and then he would have seen King, and 
King certainly would have seen him ; and King testified 
that he did not see him until he came out of the chapel. 
Did he, too, know this great secret, and keep it for several 
months? Was there not among the attendants of this Insti- 
tution, or elsewhere, some friend of his own race to whom 
he was willing to unbosom himself? And please notice, 
that after giving the information to King, we next find him 
giving this information to one of the prosecutors; then we 
find him in the ofiice of Mr. Whitaker, at Raleigh, in the 
night-time, and there upon the invitation of a man he never 
saw, givit)g this secret, which he had locked up in his breast 
for .many months, against his most intimate friends, to a 
gentleman whom he did not know. 

I shall not allow this opportunity to pass without my say- 
ing that I deprecate this last method of attempting to destroy 
the character of a gentleman who has hitherto held a high 
position among his fellow-men, and the reputation of a 
woman who has been among her neighbors and friends as 
a pure and chaste maiden, by interrogating a colored menial 
servant of the household, as to what he had witnessed of 
the conduct of his employers by peeping through key-holes! 
Is the reputation of our manhood for integrity, and of our 
womanhood for chastity, to depend on such as this? If so, 
God help us ! 

The counsel for the prosecution deny that there is any 
conspiracy formed against Dr. Grissom, but they cannot deny 
that Dr. Rogers has now, and had before this prosecution 
commenced, very strong feelings against Dr. Grissom, and 
that his great interest and activity in this prosecution have 
been inspired by this feeling, and the letter written by him 
to one of his unfortunate female friends discovers upon its 
face that he was deeply anxious for the conviction of Dr. 
Grissom upon these charges; that he regarded it as a per- 


sonal issue between himself and Dr. Grissom, and he thinks 
to make his influence over this woman of some avail by- 
suggesting to her the evidence that she should furnish to 
help him to secure the conviction of Dr. Grissom. This is 
sufficient to affect the credibility of a witness, who admits 
to a state of facts that shows that he has been, to any extent, 
under the influence of Dr. Rogers in respect to his conduct 
as a witness in this trial. 

It may be safely assumed that Dr. Rogers procured the 
attendance of the witness Jones at the ofiice of the attorney 
on the night above referred to. The negro, according to his 
own admission, had previously had a conversation with Dr. 
Rogers in respect to the matter, and he told the attorney in 
Raleigh, on the night in question, just what Dr. Rogers 
desired him to tell, and no more. 

Both of these witnesses are discredited by the high char- 
acter of Nora Burch. 

There is much of pathetic force in the position which this 
unfortunate woman, all unconscious of the condition, has 
been forced to occupy in this trial. She is not here, and 
cannot be here, to confront these witnesses, and stand up for 
her virtue and her honor. Who will stand this day for the 
virtue and the chastity of this poor unfortunate daughter of 
the widow? I appeal to the manhood of this Board to 
remember the testimony, the overwhelming testimony, as to 
her character for purity and virtue, which has been given 
on this trial by her neighbors at High Point, by the pure 
and chaste maidens who have been her associate attendants 
in this Institution, and to stand this day for the l^onor of 
this widow's daughter. 

What would be her suffering and her anguish, if she should 
some day be restored to healthful jnental condition, to learn 
theCt during her daj^s of darkness and utter helplessness, that 
which was dearer to her than mental light or even life — 
her character for purity and virtue — had been taken away 
from her upon such evidence as you have heard in this speci- 


ficatioD. I know not how far Dr. Rogers may be guilty 
of the sins alleged against him ; but all good men will unite 
with me in saying that if, for the purpose of securing the 
downfall of a man whom he now hates, but who at one 
time was his best friend and his benefactor, he has been 
willing to involve the fair name of an unfortunate woman^ 
and that the selection has been made for the reason that her 
affliction prevents her from coming here and speaking for 
her virtue and her honor, then he deserves the deepest con- 

Oh, how unfortunate is the position of this poor woman 
When Dr. Grissom, who is the only witness that can protect 
her against these vile charges, speaks for her honor, the 
counsel for the prosecution say that he is impeached on 
account of his great interest in the issue of this trial, and 
that you are not to believe him. The counsel for the prose- 
cution wdio spoke yesterday said that the methods of me- 
chanical restraint resorted to here were as cruel as the tor- 
tures of hell ; but if it be true that Nora Burch is a virtuous 
woman, then the conduct of this prosecution in relation to 
her is a thousand times more cruel than any act of restraint 
testified to by the most biased witness for the prosecution. 

Wh}^ have they selected Nora Burch as the only one of 
the female attendants involved with Dr. Grissom in criminal 
intercourse? There have been a great many attendants in 
this Institution, and many handsome young women among 
them; many of them, I take it, were equal in lespect to^ 
physical charms to tliis widow's daughter, and yet against 
her, and her only, has this charge been made. Wh}' was 
not this charge made before Nora Burch lost her reason? 
From the last of July, when, according to the witnesses, this 
act occurred, to the last of February, when she became 
insane, there was a period of seven months. I submit, that 
if the prosecution is the result of a conspiracy, if a shrewd 
leader would not conceive that it was safer, yea, necessary,, 
to allege criminal intimacy with a woman who was dead or 


mentally incapable of testifying, and that, for the purpose of 
corroboration, by showing in evidence a general wicked and 
lecherous disposition on the part of the respondent, to pro- 
cure females over whom he had acquired influence to testify 
to amorous advances and proposals for sinful connections by 
him, and their rejection by them, which would condemn him, 
and at the same time save their honor intact? 

Then, next, gentlemen of the Board, we have the testi- 
mony of Dr. Grissom, which is an unequivocal denial of this 
criminal intercourse. Will you believe him? On the one 
hand, you have in his favor the high character that he has 
maintained among his fellow-men and the high position 
that he has held in the public confidence for nearlj' a quar- 
ter of a century. You have the testimony of Mrs. Lawrence 
and of Miss McKoy in his corroboration, and in impeach- 
ment of King and Jones. You have witnessed the bearing 
and demeanor of this old man on the witness stand, who in 
his life has now measured three score years of time. It was 
a trying ordeal to him; and yet his enemies cannot say, and 
the counsel for the prosecution did not say, bitter and denun- 
ciatory as he was of him, that he did not bear himself like 
a brave man, determined to tell the truth and nothing but 
the truth. He was not impeached by any cross-examination. 
The counsel for the prosecution, after he was turned over to 
them for examination, notwithstanding he had testified fully 
as to each and every charge and specification made against 
him, cross-examined him upon one point only, and that 
relating to another charge and specification and in no way 
relating to this charge or specification. 

And on the other hand, Dr. Grissom is affected by his 
interest in the result of this trial, and it is for you, gentle- 
men, to say whether this is sufficient to outweigh the other 
considerations in his favor, and to lead your minds to the 
conclusion that he has sworn falsely. 

You will pardon me for having taken up so much of your 
time in discussing this part of the case. My only excuse is^ 


that it is of so much consequence to him. It involves his 
future, not only of himself, but of those who are dearer to 
him than life. And, again, I assure you, that we are also 
striving for the vindication of the unfortunate widow's 
daughter. We appeal to 3^our manhood to do her, as well 
as the respondent, justice. It is a rule of law, that you will 
not disregard, that a person charged before any court with 
any offence is supposed to be innocent until the contrary is 

Now, I submit to your judgment, with the responsibilities 
upon you, that you try this case according to the evidence: 
so help you, God. And let me implore you, that in consid- 
ering the evidence, you will remember the silent witness 
now in the Morganton Asylum. 

We come now to the second specification. It is that 
Dr. Grissom made amorous advances and lecherous pro- 
posals to Mrs. Perkinson. Mrs. Perkinson was never an 
attendant, nor in any way connected with the Institution as 
an employee, and therefore this specification had no proper 
place under this charge; but we realized that if that point 
had been made, it would have given to the uncharitable an 
occasion for saying that Dr. Grissom is seeking to avail him- 
self of a mere technical defence, and to establish that if he 
has kept himself pure in relation to the female attendants 
of this Institution, he is not responsible to this Board for 
the morality of his conduct in relation to females outside of 
this Institution. So we meet this specification also, and 
deny it squarely. 

It has been suggested that when Dr. Grissom admitted 
that, on one occasion, he was guilty of the impropriety of 
kissing Mrs. Perkinson under circumstances which appealed 
strongly to his sympathy, and so much so that Mrs. Perkin- 
son herself admitted that she referred this act to an hon- 
orable motive, that he admitted the whole of this charge. 
Is it not true that a man cannot debauch every woman 
whom he may kiss? — nor does he expect to. I know that 


there are numbers of men who take a different view ; I am 
glad that you do not belong to that class. I believe that, 
among that class, any gallantry shown by a man to a woman, 
however pure she may be, is referred to an unholy motive. 
I am glad that I have a higher faith in the manhood and 
womanhood of my people. It should be remembered to 
Dr. Grissom's credit that, with the consciousness of how a 
large number of people would view this act of indiscretion, 
he admitted its truth. Why should he admit this and den}'- 
the other acts which she testifies to, if they were all true? — for 
this and all the rest were entirely dependent upon the uncor- 
roborated testimony of Mrs. Perkinson. Dr. Grissom is a 
man of experience, and he knew that when he testified to 
that act of indiscretion how it might aft'ect him — that even 
those who would be charitable enough not to accept it as 
proof of this charge, would allow it weight as affecting his 
character for prudence. It was a terrible temptation upon him 
to deny this act ; many men who have occupied higher posi- 
tions have fallen under the influence of a less temptation. 
Who that is not in his position can appreciate this great 
strain upon his moral nature? Persecuted by two of his 
most important subordinates, upon charges which, if true, 
would compass his utter ruin ; one of these persecutors a 
young man to whom he had stood almost as a father, fight- 
ing him, according to his own admission, even to the death, 
and the other, Mr. Thompson, the steward, a man of high 
character, believing in his guilt, but, according to his testi- 
mony, not for anything he had seen that tended to prove 
any immorality on his part, but actively and earnestly 
engaged in the prosecution ; and many of the other subordi- 
nates engaged in the combination for his overthrow — a col- 
ored servant who waited upon him made a prominent 
witness against him. With all these things — and he fully 
believed that a conspiracy had been formed for his over- 
throw — he saw that all of his conduct for the past few years 
had been watched with suspicious eyes ; that the friendship 


of a long life had been attacked ; that the whisper of slander 
had been busy witli the name of a Christian woman, the 
widow of a dear friend — an old woman — and all because she 
had been faithful in her friendship, even to this end. He 
was standing in the face of this issue almost alone. Dr. 
Fuller, the first assistant physician, was too feeble in health 
to testify as to whether the matters alleged in these charges 
were true or not. It was a fearful crisis in his life, and that 
the old man stood there, burdened as he was, and spoke the 
truth and said, " I kissed Mrs. Perkinson," will be appre- 
ciated by brave men everywhere. You may convict him if 
you will, but he will carry with him to the grave the com- 
forting reflection that in that hour God gave him strength 
to stand up for the truth. And yet there have been men so 
low, who were so thoroughly incapable of measuring any 
man by any higher standard than that they have prescribed 
for their own conduct, that they would say that if Dr. Gris- 
som confessed to having kissed Mrs. Perkinson, he confessed 
to the whole. It is not in accordance with my taste or incli- 
nations to attack a woman's reputation, and I shall make no 
attack upon Mrs. Perkinson. I will simply call your atten- 
tion to the following facts: Mrs. Perkinson said she told her 
husband and her sister of the conduct of Dr. Grissom toward 
her ; neither one of these came upon the stand to corroborate 
her. She continued to see Dr. Grissom after he had made 
the alleged improper advances to her, and her husband con- 
tinued in the employment of Dr. Grissom without any pro- 
test or complaint to him of his conduct towards his wife. 
It may be argued that their necessitous condition compelled 
this conduct in order that her husband might have employ- 
ment, but this does not explain why Mrs. Perkinson sent for 
Dr. Grissom to come to her house to see her sick child when 
she knew that she would be alone there except the child. 
Now, I do not mean to imply that Mrs. Perkinson had any 
improper motives, for I do not believe that she had, in send- 
ing for Dr. Grissom to come to see her child ; but if Dr. Gris- 


som had repeatedly made the attempts upon her virtue 
which she testified to, it is hardly consistent with the high 
character which has been given her by witnesses on this stand 
that she should have asked Dr. Grissom to visit her sick child, 
when there were so many other physicians living close by, 
and Dr. Fuller and Dr. Rogers were equally as near as Dr. 

I proceed now to the specification which alleges improper 
advances and proposals by the respondent to Miss Edwards. 
In view of the very exhaustive argument made by Col. Fuller 
in considering this part of the case, and in discussing what 
weight should be given to the testimony of Miss Edwards, 
I shall not discuss at length the evidence that was offered 
upon this specification. The only evidence which the prose- 
cution off'ered was the testimony of Miss Edwa,rds herself. 
She testified that Dr. Grissom, on more than one occasion, 
attempted to kiss her and to induce her to sit in his lap, and 
that on one occasion he attempted to take liberties with her 
person while she was lying sick in bed. That he proposed, 
first, if she would yield to his wishes, tha,t he would abandon 
his wife, whom, she declared, he said he had not loved for 
many years, and flee with her. She said that she rejected 
this proposition ; and then she testified that he offered, if 
she would yield to his solicitations, to make her the matron 
of the Institution ; and she said the last time he off'ered these 
indignities to her was when she went into his office the last 
day she was at the Institution, in March, 1888, and tha.t she 
then informed him that she had received a telegram calling 
her home on account of the extreme illness of her mother, 
and that on account of his conduct to her she would never 
return to the Institution. She admitted that she had been 
in correspondence with Dr. Rogers, and had met him once 
in Greensboro since she left here. 

Dr. Grissom testified that he had never made any improper 
advances to her either by word or conduct, and he denied 
specifically every one of the allegations which she made 


against him. The Rev. Mr. Whitaker testified that, on the 
day on which she left this Institution, he traveled with her 
on the cars as far as Merry Oaks, in Chatham County, and 
during that time he engaged her in conversation, and she 
spoke in the very highest terms of Dr. Grissom, and said 
that it was her purpose, whether her mother lived or died, 
to return to the Institution. Mr. Whitaker further testified, 
that she spoke in very high terms of Dr. Rogers, and that 
he told her that he expected that she and Dr. Rogers were 
sweethearts, and to this remark she simply smiled. 

You will remember, gentlemen, the testimony of Mrs. 
Williams. She said that Miss Edwards visited her in her 
home in the city of Raleigh ; that Dr. Rogers called to see 
her there, and that Miss Edwards introduced Dr. Rogers to 
the witness as Mr. Edwards, a relative of hers. She further 
testified that, on one occasion, at night, when Dr. Rogers 
called to see Miss Edwards, they were standing out in the 
porch, that she opened the door to invite them into the 
house, and she discovered that Dr. Rogers had his arm 
around Miss Edwards' waist. I call your attention to the 
coincidence that the evidence of Miss Edwards was like in 
kind, and almost in expression, to the directions given by 
Dr. Rogers in his letter, which has been offered in evidence, 
written to another female friend as to the facts she should 
testify to concerning Dr. Grissom's conduct towards her. 

It is not my purpose to speak harshly of Miss Edwards. 
Witnesses from her own home have testified to her good 
character. I shall not seek to impeach her character for 
chastity or virtue, but I think it is fairly deducible, from the 
evidence, that she was decidedly under the influence of Dr. 
Rogers, and has shared in his bitter feeling toward Dr. 
Grissom. [ think her conduct calls for the exercise of pity 
rather than severe criticism, for she was under the influence 
of a young man to whom she was attached, and in whom 
she greatly trusted; and I think I am warranted, from the 
evidence, in stating that she has testified in accordance with 


his wishes, if not his directions. The counsel for the prose- 
cution present her as an unsophisticated young woman from 
the country, without experience, and without guile. As 
affecting the value of her testimony, I refer you to her con- 
duct and bearing as a witness. When this artless young 
girl came into this room, and was going to place her hand 
upon the Bible to be sworn as a witness, she clenched her 
fan in her right hand and defiantly shook it at the respond- 
ent. Was this evidence of very great modesty? Would not 
the typical maiden of our Southland, if she were called 
upon to testify before a court of gentlemen concerning such 
charges as are the issues in this trial, and to such facts as 
Miss Edwards had come to testify to, be so affected by a feel- 
ing of shame and personal mortification that she would have 
approached the witness-stand with faltering steps and down- 
cast eyes? During the progress of her examination as a 
witness, Dr. Grissom whispered something to his own coun- 
sel, when she spoke out with considerable show of feeling, 
and said, "Oh, he will tell a lie in a minute;" and again 
during her examination, and speaking to the counsel of Dr. 
Grissom, and not in response to any question by them, she 
said : " Dr. Grissom is mean enough to do anything. " Was 
that deportment consistent with modesty? Certainl}^, if an 
artist had been seeking for a model for a statue to represent 
modesty, he would have passed that young woman by on 
that occasion. 

Is it not strange, gentlemen, that this young, modest 
woman should have experienced these wicked wrongs from 
Dr. Grissom, and failed to have communicated with some 
lady friend in relation thereto ? She says she did not tell 
her father, because she did not want him to take Dr. Gris- 
som's life. She was neither too modest, nor so much con- 
cerned for the safety of Dr. Grissom, that she did' not com- 
municate them to Dr. Rogers and to the counsel for the 
prosecution, even when she knew the purpose for which 
they were to be used. It seems to me, that a modest maiden^ 


if she had kept this secret for twelve months, would never 
have given it away with a knowledge that the result would 
be its publication in a trial. But I will say no more of this 
young woman, for it is clear that she was dominated in 
respect to her conduct in this trial by the will of Dr. Rogers. 
What shall I say of Dr. Rogers ? I will not indulge in 
any very severe denunciation of him. I am full of regret 
at his conduct. Oh, if he had only submitted himself to 
the dictates of prudence and discretion and a virtuous am- 
bition — if he could have discarded whatever was sensual, 
low and unworthy, and striven for that which was grand, 
noble and enduring, he would have had not only the respect 
of his contemporaries, but he might have written his name so 
high that all men might have read it. A few years ago his 
life was full of promise. He bears an honored name — it is 
the name of his father, who was much respected and hon- 
ored in North Carolina. He had no need to be ashamed of 
that name, that he should visit one of the female attendants 
of this Institution under an assumed name; but he may 
well be ashamed of the man who bears that name. The 
people of North Carolina are not ashamed of that name, but 
they are full of shame and mortification on account of the 
man who now bears it, for whose honor they had vouched 
by giving him so responsible a position. Why, if Dr. 
Rogers' intentions were honorable, did he not call on this 
woman openly, and send up his card with his own name on 
it? The truth is, that Dr. Rogers is an intriguer; he bobs 
up frequently during the history developed by this trial, 
and wherever you see him he is intriguing ; wherever you 
strike his foot-prints, they are on a scheming errand, whether 
it be in the house of Mrs. Perkinson, when he talks with her 
about Dr. Grissom's conduct towards her, and tells her that 
he has treated others in the same way, and that she must 
go to Raleigh that night and tell it to his lawyers ; whether 
it be when he is writing the long letter to his female friend, 
the first four pages of which are full of passionate expres- 


sions, that she might he moved thereb}^ to comply with his 
request, contained in the last pages of the letter, to furnish 
such evidence as he suggested would be helpful to enable 
him to " down the old scoundrel," with whom he was about 
to engage in a fight to the very death ; or whether it be in 
callino; on Miss Edwards at the residence of Miss Williams, 
under an assumed name ; or whether it be in procuring the 
attendance of the employees of this Institution, before this 
prosecution was commenced, at the office of an attorney in 
the city of Raleigh ; — wherever he is, at all times and in all 
places, he is scheming and intriguing. If Dr. Rogers had 
not allowed his feelings, and his desire to " down the old 
scoundrel," to override his judgment, it would not have 
escaped him that the history of this world has taught that, 
scheme as you will and intrigue as you may, manufactured 
testimony has rarely succeeded in accomplishing its purpose. 
It almost always happens that the greatest caution and fore- 
thought has been unequal to the task of completing the 
entire wall and guarding every point. It has alwaj^s been 
so — it will always be so. It will so turn out that some fact 
will be clearly established that will be inconsistent with the 
alleged material facts and the theory of the conspiracy, 
and when this is so, the whole must fall to the ground. 
For it is true that every fact in this universe must be in 
harmony with every other fact, and the attempt to establish 
as a fact, that which is not a fact, is, as it were, an effort to 
disharmonize the universe. 

The fact that the Rev. Mr. Whitaker rode on the train 
with Miss Edwards in March, 1888, and had a conversation 
with her, and the nature of the conversation seemed unim- 
portant at the time, but what Miss Edwards said in that 
conversation, which, doubtless, she never expected to hear 
of again, and which Dr Rogers never knew of, has been 
very important in this case. 

There are two other specifications under this charge of 
immoralit}^ — the one alleging amorous advances by the 



respondent towards Miss Morris, the other alleging the same 
conduct on his part towards Miss Rosa Bryant — but the prose- 
cution did not introduce any evidence in support of either 
one of these charges. It is to be deprecated that the names 
of these ladies should have been made to figure in these 
charges, thus, in some measure, reflecting upon their honor 
without a particle of evidence to justify it. 

I shall now proceed to the second charge ; That Dr. Gris- 
som, Superintendent of this Institution, has been guilty of 
mismanagement and cruel treatment of the patients under 
his charge. It was upon this charge that the counsel for 
the prosecution made his speech on yesterday. In the course 
of his remarks, he said that exalted position would not pro- 
tect a man from the consequences of his evil-doing. That 
is true; and it is equally true that virtue forms no shield to 
ward off the arrows of calumny, and that, exalted position, 
however worthily filled, does not prevent the attacks of jeal- 
ousy, but rather induces them. The counsel was rather face- 
tious in his references to the observations which Col. Fuller 
made upon the high character of Dr. Grissom ; but is it not 
true that Dr. Grissom has proven himself to be a man of 
high character ? Has he not held for twenty-one years the 
high position which he now fills? And may you not take 
notice of these things in determining the value of this testi- 
mon}^, if for no other purpose? It is not claimed that he is. 
the greatest represeritative of his profession in North Caro- 
lina, nor that he is the only man capable of filling the office 
he holds, for there are, I am glad to say, many members of 
his profession in this State who would fill well this high 
place. We have not claimed that he is exempt from the 
weaknesses of human nature which belong to all of us, nor 
that he is above sinning. It has not been intimated by us 
that he should not be tried by the same rules that would 
obtain in the trial of the humblest citizen of the land. It 
has seemed to us right, and we have said so, that he should 
have a fair trial upon the evidence, and that whatever of 


character he or his witnesses have, ought to be considered 
in estimating the weight and value of the testimony of the 
defence. It is to be regretted that, on this trial, the purpose 
of which is to depose from his high position a person who 
has hitherto been held in high esteem by the public, and 
who is impeached only by the charges and the evidence in 
this trial, all of which is controverted, the counsel for the 
prosecution, in respect to his sense of duty to his cause, has 
felt called upon to indulge in such bitter denunciation of the 
unfortunate respondent. With great respect, and disclaim- 
ing any intention of assuming a right to criticise the con- 
duct of their prosecution, I declare to you that I do not think 
the expressions of denunciation and of abuse which fell from 
the counsel's lips were justified by the aspect of this case. It 
cannot be insisted, for justification of his course, that we 
have not been careful of our utterances in relation to Dr. 
Rogers' conduct. Their cases are different. Dr. Rogers, 
according to his own written declaration, has been guilty of 
conduct deserving of the severest condemnation. He is a 
volunteer prosecutor in this action, and has been actively 
engaged therein, and yet he has refused to go upon the stand 
and testify as a witness, so that we might have the oppor- 
tunity of cross-examining him. On the other hand. Dr. 
Grissom has, in obedience to a legal requirement arising 
upon the preferring of these charges, appeared for the pur- 
pose of answeriug and defending himself against them. 
There has been no proof of any written or unwritten declar- 
ation on his part of any fact tending to prove him guilty of 
any one of the charges. There has been evidence tending 
to prove him guilty of each one of the charges, and there 
has been evidence in rebuttal for his defence as to ever}' one 
of them. 

If it is a fact that the question of his guilt as to every one 
of the charges is still open, is he to be denounced as a crim- 
inal ? Is there nothing in his past ; is there nothing in his 
conduct and bearing on the stand as a witness; is there- 


nothing in the gray hairs of an old age that has hitherto 
been honorable ; and could not all of these avail to shield 
him against the expressions of contempt and denunciation? 

The counsel, among other things, said : " Allow Dr. Gris- 
som to remain here, and he will soon tie up a man by the 
thumbs if he does not act in accordance with his wishes." 
Upon what authority does he say this ? There is no evidence 
to warrant any such conclusion. He invoked God, then he 
attempted to call up the ghosts and to call down the spirits, 
and then he prayed a prayer. It was the Lord's prayer. 
Yes, standing there, and after indulging in the most fearful 
denunciations of the respondent, he raised his hands on high, 
and uttered the sublime language contained in the beautiful 
prayer : " Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who 
trespass against us." Did it never occur to him that the 
conception of the divine mind was that this prayer should 
have, not only expression, but a spirit also? Does he not 
remember that it is said of the circumstances under which 
this prayer is to be uttered, that " thou shalt not be as the 
hypocrites ; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues 
and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of 
men. Verily, I say unto you, they have their reward. But 
when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast 
shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and 
thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." 

But there was a prayer which he might have uttered, and 
which, if he will pardon me for saying so, would have been 
more in accord with the spirit of this prosecution ; and it is 
this: "Oh! Lord, I thank Thee that I am not as other men, 
especially this poor old gray-haired Superintendent of the 
North Carolina Insane Asylum." 

This part of his speech calls to my mind an incident 
which occurred in the western part of the State. There was 
a pious old woman who belonged to a church with a small 
membership, in a remote section, and she did not often have 
an opportunity of hearing preaching ; but on one occasion 


it was appointed that a preacher of considerable reputation 
would fill the pulpit of her little church. She invited some- 
of her friends to come and hear the preacher, and coupled 
it with invitations to dine with her after the service was 
over. Her friends came, and the preacher came, but he 
failed to come up to expectations in his sermon. When the 
friends of the old woman were gathered with her arouiid the 
dinner-table, they engaged in pretty sharp criticisms upon 
the sermon. The old woman listened in silence for a while, 
and then, turning to them with an appealing look, she said : 
"Well, brethren, I will admit that he didn't preach much of 
a sermon, but you are bound to allow that he was monstrous 
shifty in pray'r." 

Much of the evidence upon this second charge, and the 
specifications thereunder, was upon the propriety of mechani- 
cal restraint as a method of treatment for certain classes of 
insane, and much of the argument of counsel was directed 
to the same matter. It seems to us that the fact that the 
Board of Directors have recognized this method of treatment 
in the By-Laws of the Institution would be sufficient justi- 
fication for its use by the Superintendent of the Institution. 
But suppose that this were not so, the question of mechanical 
restraint or non-restraint, according to the evidence, is still 
within the field of controversy. The English rule is against 
mechanical restraint; the American rule is in favor of it; 
and to each of these rules you will find exceptions in each 
of the countries. 

But the question is dependent for a settlement in this 
Institution upon a law that neither you nor I have the 
power to contravene. It is the law of necessity. The annual 
appropriation to this Institution is $55,000, which would be 
totally inadequate to support this Institution, with the num- 
ber of patients here, if mechanical restraint were abolished. 
The violent insane must, at times, be restrained by some 
power to prevent them from doing injury to themselves or 
to others. If mechanical restraint is to be abolished, therk 


you must increase the number of attendants here by so 
many as would afford a sufficient number of attendants to 
follow after and continually watch each of the violent insane. 
This would require a larger appropriation than the State of 
North Carolina has made to this Institution, or is able to 
make, or else the reducing of the number of the inmates of 
this Asylum to about one-third of its present number. The 
General Assembly of the State has settled this question by 
the amount of its appropriation. The Board of Directors of 
this Asylum has settled this question by allowing so many 
inmates in this Institution that, within the appropriation, 
the Superintendent of the Institution would not be free to 
elect as bet^/een the s,ystem of restraint and non-restraint. 

The counsel for the prosecution referred you to the Indiana 
Insane Asylum, in which mechanical restraint has been 
abolished, and he discussed the report of the superintendent 
of that institution as illustrating the beneficial effects of the 
change ; but he did not tell you that the annual appropria- 
tion to that institution, as stated in the very book that con- 
tains that report, is $260,000. 

It often happens that there are inmates of this Institution 
who belong to the class known as the criminally insane. 
They are those who have been indicted by a grand jury, and 
on their arraignment for trial before a petit jury have pleaded 
"insanity," and the jury has found that they were insane, 
and they have been, by order of the court, transferred to this 
Asylum. According to the evidence, of those to whom it is 
alleged that Dr. Grissom has been cruel in his treatment, 
one was indicted for rape, one for arson, and one for an 
assault with a deadly weapon. 

Insanity is not a loss of the mind, but it is a disease of the 
mind, and many of the patients here have homicidal ten- 
dencies, and some have suicidal tendencies. Because the 
appropriation made to this Institution will not allow the 
employment of sufficient attendants to watch over and 
restrain these men in their violent paroxysms, are the poor^ 


weak, helpless and innocent insane here to be in peril of 
their lives or bodily harm, or are these violent insane to be 
mechanically restrained ? That is the question. It is not 
difficult to criticise the methods of an institution, but it is 
quite another thing to adopt others that are better, and that 
are possible and consistent with already fixed, stated condi- 
tions. Would it be wise policy to abolish mechanical restraint 
in this Institution at the cost of sending two-thirds of the 
inmates back to the places from whence they came — some 
of them to the common jails of their counties, and some of 
them to homes in which there is a struggle, even now, with- 
out the additional burden they would bring, to keep want 
and suffering for bread outside the threshold ? And remem- 
ber that if this were done, of those who remained here would 
be the criminally insane. That is fixed by the orders of the 

Dr. Grissom testified that the application of mechanical 
restraint is, in some cases, proper and necessary treatment, 
and that in the cases where he resorted to it, it was, accord- 
ing to his best judgment, proper treatment for the patient. 
The counsel for the prosecution insists that this cannot be 
so, for that, according to the testimony of witnesses, several 
of the patients were restrained because of acts of violence 
towards the Superintendent or others of the Institution. 

It may be that the witnesses and the counsel have fallen 
into the error of referring the mechanical restraints to facts 
as causes, instead of evidences or symptoms of the nervous 
and mental conditions of the patient which, to an alienist 
like Dr. Grissom, made such treatment proper. 

Now, it was testified by one of the witnesses that one of 
the patients, named in one of the specifications, and a man 
of violent disposition and homicidal mania, on one occasion 
when Dr. Grissom passed through the ward, followed him, 
abusing him and attempting acts of violence upon him, and 
for this he said Dr. Grissom ordered him to be restrained. 
The truth is, that the conduct of the patient discovered a 


mental condition requiring restraint, both in respect to his 
own safety and the safety of other patients in the ward. Dr. 
Grissom must not be held responsible for the fact that an 
attendant has not the learning to appreciate a scientific 
deduction from given facts. 

If we were as ignorant of the treatment of physical diseases 
as we are of mental diseases, doubtless many times we would 
think that our family physician was cruel in the use of reme- 
dial agents. A physician is called to see a patient who i» 
suffering from the effects of a determination of the blood to 
the brain. He attempts to feel the pulse of the patient, the 
patient strikes at him, and, in his delirium, calls him bad 
names ; the physician directl}^ thereafter, with his lancet^ 
cuts into the arm of the patient and lets out a quantity of 
blood. An ignorant servant concludes that the doctor cut 
the patient as a punishment for striking at him and using 
bad language; but that does not make it so. 

In the case referred to above, and alleged against Dr. Gris- 
som for cruelty, was it better that Dr. Grissom should go out 
of the ward after he had completed his visit, and leave that 
patient in a violent temper, which would most probably 
have found vent in a forcible attack upon some of the other 
patients, or was it better to have him restrained? The one 
course was consistent with his own safety and convenience; 
the other was consistent with duty and the safety of the other 

The cases of alleged cruelty to the female patients, except- 
ing the case of Mrs. Lowter, depend entirely upon the evi- 
dence of Miss Edwards; and in view of the fact that she is 
uncorroborated, and that Dr. Grissom, who testifies that he 
was not guilty of the acts alleged, is corroborated in impor- 
tant particulars, I shall not discuss at any length those speci- 
fications. The testimony of Miss Edwards, that the Super- 
intendent, on one occasion, as a punishment to two of the 
female patients who had been engaged in a fight, locked 
them together in a room and left them to fight it out, and 


that they did fight for a long while, and to the extent of fear- 
fully bruising each other, and that Dr. Grissoni watched them 
for a while through the trap-door and seemed to enjoy the 
conflict, needs corroboration. It cannot be that this unusual 
incident could have occurred in any ward of this Institution 
without attracting the attention of some of the otliers, and, 
being the subject of remark among all, of the attendants of 
this Institution. It is presuming too much against the intel- 
ligent judgment of these triers to ask that they should believe 
that a conflict should have been waged between two infuri- 
ated insane women, with the approval of the Superintendent, 
without attracting the attention of any other attendant or 
servant of this Institution besides Miss Edwards; and yet 
not one other testifies to any knowledge or information of 
that fact. And of the witnesses examined, touching Dr. 
Grissom's treatment of those patients, all denied any informa- 
tion or knowledge thereof. 

The act of cruelty alleged to have been committed against 
Miss Foy was the dashing of cold water in her face. Dr. 
Grissom admitted that he did this, but that he did it as a 
method of treatment. He sa3^s that Miss Foy was a very 
excitable patient, and that he had discovered that, in her 
case, and with some other patients who were suffering with 
paroxysms of excitement and a disposition to violence, by 
dashing, suddenly, cold water into the face it would produce 
a mental impression that would be beneficial in reducing the 
excitement of the patient. He says one peculiarity of this 
patient was that she imagined herself the wife of Dr. Rogers, 
and that she would sometimes seize hold of Dr. Rogers as he 
went through her ward. 

The counsel for the prosecution was pleased, in his argu- 
ment, to refer to the treatment of Miss Foy as a desire on 
the part of Dr. Grissom to punish her on account of her 
expressions of attachment and affection for Dr. Rogers, whom 
he so much hated. Can it be that the counsel believes this? 
Is there any evidence to warrant any such statement? Dr. 


Grissom can't be so vile as that, for a man vile and wicked 
enough to do that thing could not for these past 3'ears so 
have veiled his real character from the world. I sincerely 
trust that there is not a member of this Board, whatever 
may be his conclusion upon the issues of this trial, who will 
do Dr. Grissom the injustice — the gross injustice — to believe 
that he was inspired by so lovv' and vile a motive. 

In relation to the charge of choking the patient Henry 
Cone, Dr. Grissom says that he was, at times, a very excita- 
ble, a very violent and a very dangerous patient; that he 
had a habit of springing suddenly on one; that when he 
was in one of these paroxysms, there would be a great rush 
of blood to his face and head; that his eyes would become 
bloodshot; that on the occasion referred to in the specifica- 
tion he was in a condition of great excitement, and that he 
sprang upon him suddenly and with great violence; that he 
threw him off, and that, after that, he put one hand on 
either side of his neck and pressed on the carotid arteries, 
and this was to prevent the great rush of blood to the brain ; 
that he did not choke him. There is a carotid artery on 
either side of the neck, which takes the blood to the brain, 
and, sometimes, by the application of pre-sure on these 
arteries, the flow of blood to the brain may be lessened, and 
beneficial eff'ects follow. And this was true in Henry Cone's 
case. Dr. Grissom did not explain to the attendant why he 
was pressing on the patient's neck ; he was not called upon 
to do that, and the attendant thought, from the position of 
his hands, that he was choking the patient. But if his 
explanation to this Board is satisfactory, he is therewith 
content. I have no doubt but that his explanation is satis- 
factory, and his conduct in this respect justified by the gen- 
tlemen of the medical profession on this Board. 

In the case of Mrs. Lowter, the counsel insists that her 
deatli was in consequence of the restraint imposed upon her 
by order of the Superintendent. Not one witness who tes- 
tified for the prosecution, or for the defence, according to 


my recollection, agreed with the counsel. Those who testi- 
fied as to this specification, agreed that Mrs. Lowter appeared 
as well after she had been freed from restraint as she ever 
had been. Mrs. V. C. Jones, who was for eighteen years an 
attendant in this Institution, and was a long while the chief 
attendant, and a woman of high character, testified to this 

The counsel was surely mistaken in stating that Mrs. 
Lowter was restrained because she would not take her bath. 
In describing the character or form of her insanity and its 
manifestations, one of the witnesses said that Mrs. Lowter 
was a very peculiar and contrary patient; that she would 
not submit to directions in any particular; that she would 
not yield to solicitations or requests; and, among other 
things, the witness said that she would not take a bath or 
go to her meals, unless she was compelled thereto by force. 
Dr. Grissom testified that Mrs. Lowter was in such a condi- 
tion of excitement that he ordered her restrained, thinking 
it best and necessary for the purpose of composing her. 

In relation to the specification of cruelty to Upchurch, it 
appears, from the evidence, that he was one of the criminally 
insane. Before he was sent here, he had shot his brother, 
and had made an attempt against the life of another man. 
He was a very violent and very dangerous patient. He 
had torn a piece of iron from the window and was threaten- 
ing violence and defying the attendants. Dr. Grissom was 
sent for, and when he came, he found the patient in a great 
rage, and brandishing the iron bar. He directed that he 
should be disarmed and restrained. One of the attendants 
proposed to go in the room with a stick and disarm him ; 
this, Dr. Grissom forbade, but, under his direction, the attend- 
ants took a mattress and, holding it before them, rushed upon 
him, pressed him against the wall and threw him upon the 
floor and disarmed him. There was a great struggle, and 
Dr. Grissom testifies that he, the attendants, and Mr. Thomp- 
son, were very much excited. Mr. Thompson stood in the 

door, but did not aid in disarming or controlling the patient. 
Dr. Grissom, according to his testimon}^ while Upchurch 
was on the floor and struggling with the attendants, went up 
and put his foot on the upper part of Upchurch's body, 
about the shoulder or neck. One of the other witnesses, 
Harris, I think, says he put his foot in his face. Mr. Thomp- 
son, and at least one other witness, and probably two, say 
that he stamped him in the face, and that afterwards there 
was blood on the corner of his mouth; and several of the 
witnesses say that Dr. Grissom, at that time, cursed Upchurch; 
but all agree that no serious injury was done to Upchurch. 

It is admitted that the force used in this case was not lim- 
ited by its necessity, but we insist that it was not done with 
any cruel purpose, but was the result of impulse upon excite- 
ment. If you shall have at the head of this Institution a 
man who is qualified for the place, he will sometimes do 
wrong. It is the strong man who occasionally commits 
wrong; it is only the weak "goody-goody" sort who are 
safe against this danger — but their daily life and conduct 
are made up of the sins of omission. It would not be con- 
sistent with the necessity that is upon us all to ask for a 
charitable construction upon our past conduct to hold that 
for this one act of wrong this respondent, as Superintendent 
of this Institution, is guilty of cruel treatment to the patients 
of this Institution. 

The discussion of the other specifications under this 
charge, and. of the third charge, and the specifications there- 
under, will be left to my associates who follow me. 

And now, gentlemen of the Board, I trust that I may 
again, without offence to you, urge upon you that this case 
is to be tried according to the evidence. One of the counsel 
for the prosecution during the conduct of this trial has stated 
that this respondent is on trial before two tribunals — the one 
is this Hoard, and the other the iiiillion 'ind m half [)eople of 
North Carolina. That may be !-o ; it certainly i.'- true that 
the people of North Carolina feel great interest in this trial. 


I know not what may be their verdict upon the issues, but 
I do say this, tliat your opinion of what may be the popular 
judgment upon these charges must not affect your judgment 
upon the evidence. And the intelligent people of North 
Carolina who love justice and fair play, and who have dele- 
gated to you the power for this trial, would not ask that you 
should be guided and directed b}^ anything else but your 
own intelligent apprehension of, and conscientious regard 
for, the evidence, and the whole evidence. 

I have tried to discuss the evidence fairly, and to state it 
in substance correctly. If, in my zeal for my client, I have 
failed in this, your own judgment and recollection will not 
be at fault. We have striven in this trial, not only for an 
acquittal of the respondent, but for his vindication, certainly 
in respect to the charge upon morality. We have confidence 
that, upon the evidence upon this charge of immorality, 
each and every member of this Board will vote for his 
acquittal, for anything less than that would not entirely free 
him from the stain. 

For your patient hearing of me, I thank you. 





^^^ Syracuse, N. Y. 

; Stockton, Calif. 


3 3091 00747 5262 



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